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- Hello Award Winners #17 Lina & Yu

Enrico Croce Enrico Croce 04/10/2017 15 min read
    RUSSIAN FAIRY TALE BECAME A JAPANESE AWARD WINNING MANGA! YOUNG manga creators use BASHKIRS TRADITIONAL elements to combine REALITY & FANTASY! Will the hearts of SMA-Community (the readers, the creators and the editors) be unfrozen by  their Siberian passion!? Hello, Lina & Yu!  
  Hello, everyone! We are Lina and Yu. We are two sisters who are very fond of drawing and creating their stories!

Lina & Yu, self portrait 🙂

  1) How did you begin creating Manga? Back in high school, we read a manga called “Revolutionary Girl Utena” and a chapter from “Record of Lodoss War”. We liked the narration, the characters’ emotions, the storyboarding and the use of tones. From that moment we decided that we wanted to tell our story in manga style! After a while of practising for a while in drawing and reading many Shonen and Shojo manga available in the Russia, we finally published our first volume “The Mystery of Mnema”, followed by a second volume “Revelation of Mnema”, a couple of years later. It was a great experience of drawing manga with Russian elements (the setting, the story and the characters) in it! Thanks to our readers’ support and feedbacks, we learned from our mistakes and kept on drawing manga until today!

“Mnema” series’ manga

  2) Do both of you draw?  Yes, we are two artists. In childhood we drew together, combining our drawings in one page: it was very fun! Over time, our drawings style changed, and we were not very comfortable of mix them. Now we create the story setting together. After doing that, one becomes the main artist, the second takes on the role of script-writer and assistant (for example, add the background and colours). In SMA7’s entry, Lina was the artist and Yu was the script-writer. It’s a real teamwork. We always support each other.   3) What is your working environment like? Are you an analogue or digital person? Any unique tools you use to draw? Now we use mixed techniques. All sketches and storyboards are drawn with pencils on paper, then scanned, and finally inked on PC. We also add the screen tones/colours digitally. We think it’s very convenient to use graphic tablets.

Lina & Yu’s desk 😀

  “The most significant sight of our city is the meteorite that felt in 2013!”   4) Anything the world should know about where you live? Interesting events/sights/foods/ culture etc? We live in Russia, in the centre of the South Ural, in the Chelyabinsk’s city! It is an industrial metropolis with lots of factories and entertaining places. But, perhaps, the most significant sight of our city is the meteorite that fell in 2013. The meteor flew over the city and exploded! There was a lot of noise and broken windows (fortunately, the meteorite fell in an uninhabited zone). Now the biggest fragment of the meteorite is kept in the Museum of local lore. Outside the city, there are beautiful places to visit, like the national parks of Taganay and Arkaim. The nature of South Ural is stunning!

The meteorite that fell in 2013 in Chelyabinsk

    5) Popular comics/manga in your part of the world at this moment? In Russia, there’s a lot of manga and anime fans. People here read the classic titles and follow all the new manga published. We’d say that the most popular is “Attack on Titan” at this moment. Also, several manga festivals are held every year!   6) Are locally created comics/manga popular in your town?  It’s a question hard to answer to. In our region, there are many artists who draw manga or comics, but they self-publish their works (very limited edition, art-brochures, fanzines etc.). We don’t know if they are popular among Russian manga fans.    
    “The Gift of Goddess Ai comes from our favourite author’s fairy tale”   7) Where did you find the inspiration for the entry? In our culture! Russia is a multinational country with bright ethnic colours! We didn’t need to look for inspiration for a long time; we just had to look around us and remember our tradition. The first dish that came to our mind after the word “unforgettable” was Qistibiy!   8) Is any part of the story, based on an experience of your own? The dish in the story is called Qistibiy (Кыстыбый). It is a national dish that our grandmother prepares for us. We wanted to show it’s unforgettable in our story.   9) What is the taste of Qistibiy?  This dish is made of a  crispy dough (it’s roasted on a dry fry pan) and creamy potato stuffing. Fried onions are also added during the preparation. It has a very soft taste. It combines very well with herbs – chives, dill or parsley. It’s a very satisfying dish, just 2 or 3 pieces can make you full!   10) Is the dish a sweet? The option with the potatoes (which we drew in the story) isn’t a sweet, but there is a variant with millet porridge too (more salty and tasty)!   11) Where does the story take place? In the large forests of the Ural, where Bashkirs people first settled. Bashkirs are the first population of South Ural, along with the Kazakhs people. Since the 17th century, they joined Tatars people and Russians. Now in the South Ural, there are more than 40 nationalities!   12) Is the story based on a folklore tale from your country? “The Gift of Goddess Ai” comes from Bashkirs folklore tales (“Ai” in Tatar/Bashkir language is means “Moon”). We created her appearance and tried to combine her story with our favourite food.   13) What does the “Black monster” represent? The Black Monster is a figurative image of hungry people. It destroys everything in its path, looking for food. After she accustoms the Monster, the Goddess makes people return to their original appearance and gives them a cooked gift.   14) Did you get the inspiration for a “recipe manga” from some Japanese manga? We were not trying to do the work similar to any particular Japanese manga. We just wanted to make something unusual. It was sudden, like “Hey, why don’t we add a recipe in the story? Like a cookbook inside the story! Maybe someone wants to cook this dish, after learning about it from our manga! That would be cool!”.   15) How long did it take to create the entry? From thinking about the idea until the entry, it took us about one month. It was a very fruitful period! We watched a lot of national costumes to choose Goddess Ai’s dress, and studied several recipe books to draw the Qistibiy’s recipe as understandable as possible for foreign reader.   16) Which SMA7 Award winning entries do you like? We liked the work of  “Taste of Nostalgia” by leiya. The story and her style it’s lovely!  
  “We love to do experiments and select for each story a new style of drawing!”   17) What are your future expectations? We are already working in the field of drawing – we draw commercial comics, but we are trying to find time for our own projects. We would like to keep on publishing our manga, and of course, to participate and win other contests! This is very inspiring!   18) What projects you are working right now? We are now working on the next volumes of the “Mnema” series. We hope to release it very soon!   19) What do you expect to achieve by taking part in SMACommunity – The fans, readers and the Japanese pros? We love to do experiments: select for each story a new style of drawing, change graphics, learn new things! Joining competitions is a challenge! Aspiring to the top it’s an open emotion and, of course, a valuable experience.   20) Anything else you would like to share with the community? Continue to believe in yourself. Look for the inspiration in yourself, in your environment and achieve your goals!

Goddess Ai, by Lina & Lu

  Thank you, Lina & Yu!!! Thank you for sharing your traditions with all of us! We will try for sure to cook some Qistibiy! Dear, SMAC!, if you will prepare Qistibiy, remember to take a picture and share it with all the community on our SNS pages! Also… are you ready to know the new SMA9 theme!? We will reveal it very soon! See you with new interviews and, of course, the SMA8 results!!! Bye bye~!
Enrico Croce

Enrico Croce